if you’re not jewish, kabbalah is not for you.
you are not allowed to read about it. you are not allowed to wear red bracelets. you are not allowed to practice it or think it’s cool and mystical.
you are allowed to respect that it exists, and that it is not for you, and that’s it.
Yeah no but this needs some context.
Like, Kabbalah is not just “mysticism”. It was/is a Jewish spiritual/religious reformation, born/created very deliberately as a response to the surrounding social pressures.
And by “social pressures”, I mean “Medieval Christians were freaking jerks”.
Now, when discussing anything to do with medieval Judaism you need to know Jews place in medieval society. Which was somewhere close to the bottom. Jews were tolerated — Christians, technically, aren’t allowed to make money off of lending to other Christians, so Jews were tolerated politically so that someone could run the banks. “Jews run all the banks!” yes, because you literally forced us to. Also, it was pretty useful for the nobles to, whenever they built up a lot of debt, say “The Jews ate a Christian baby!” and kill them all and incidentally burn their records. Apparently that wasn’t well known, so have a wikipedia article.
But anyways, I was talking about Kabbalah. Jews were tolerated religiously for a different reason — the “Wandering Jew” was said to be an example of “that’s what happens when you deny Christ”. They were tolerated as, basically, a theological argument — “These people deny God, and look at how sucky God made their life! They worship God incorrectly, and so God doesn’t protect them! They were once right, and now look at them stuck in the past! Look at how inconsequential they are!”
The last bit, especially, was a big one. Being Jewish sucked and got you less than nothing and accomplished nothing. It felt like it was worth nothing — “Why are you Jewish?” “Well, God told me to.” “But God doesn’t really do anything for you, or help you at all, or…”. And that wasn’t just subtext — it was a fashion in medieval kingdoms to bring some random (or sometimes not) Jew in to court and have them debate with professional Christian theologists. Medieval Christians were weird. But, so it wasn’t just subtext — you were literally yelling that at us whenever you had a chance. Jews were being demoralized on a literally national scale.
And that’s where Kabbalah came in. Kabbalah was a brilliant invention — by God, if you believe the tradition, or by the Rabbis, if you don’t. Kabbalah is a set of mystic knowledge and interpretation passed down orally, secretly among the Rabbis. It notably reinterpreted, but didn’t reshape, Jewish traditions. What did a Kabbalist Judaism look like? exactly like anyone else’s. A Kabbalist would do the exact same lighting candles, saying prayers, ripping off a bit of the dough while baking it… but what Kabbalah added was meaning, was “your actions affect things at the highest spiritual realm”. Was “lighting Shabbat candles holds together the multiverse on a fundamental level”. Was “if no enough Jews prayed every day, the universe would stop.”
And that was exactly what medieval Judaism needed. “Why are you Jewish?” “Well, yeah, it isn’t easy, but somebody needs to keep the world spinning.” “You’re lying. I don’t understand how.” “Well, you can’t understand it — you’re not Jewish.” Kabbalah completely reshaped the purpose of being Jewish — and it did it without changing anything, or doing anything even the slightest bit unorthodox. The laws were still the same — and this wasn’t even the first time Oral traditions had been written down. It fit perfectly with Judaism, and spread like a wildfire from Spain out. Even if it’s fallen out of style, it’s probably one of the major reasons why there are still Jews today.
So what does that mean nowadays. Well, for one, it means that Kabbalah is basically intellectual sacred ground in Judaism. You — if you were Jewish — don’t even consider learning it until you’re 30. Taking it is saying “there’s literally no idea you can have that you can keep for yourself”. Christianizing it, Secularizing it, is saying “that thing that you, Jews, made, in order to save Judaism — it’s too Jewish. I don’t like it. I’d rather it be my way.” Kabbalah intellectually — and in stories, physically — shielded Jews and Judaism. Taking that says “you can’t have that shield because I want it.”
So yeah. Stop treating Kabbalah like it’s some sort of generic mysticism. It was literally our cultural antidepressants. Remember when I said before that medieval Christians were weird? And meant “weird” as in “theologically violent”? You’re still doing that. By taking and secularizing Kabbalah, you’re still saying that “Jews aren’t necessary, Judaism is outdated”. STAAAHHHP.
P.S. If my description of its place in Jewish culture piques your interest, then go ahead — study it as a cultural phenomenon. Compare it to other theological revolutions. Learn about its place in Jewish Cultural history. Compare and contrast its appropriation during the Renaissance and its appropriation now. Read stories about Golems.
Learning about Kabbalah is fine — Kabbalah is a really cool thing that happened. But learning Kabbalah? No.
(And if you don’t get what the difference is — then maybe just don’t.)
I would venture that actual theological scholars have very likely studied this text, alongside many others, in their respective cultural/religious contexts as part of their career. Which is something wildly different to this hippy feel good appropriative crap that I see everyone else being into and calling it “spirituality.”
"healthy living" is a bourgeois construct to victim blame the working class for not being motivated to eat and live healthy after being forced to work exorbitant hours that takes up a majority of their life. only the rich can afford to be healthy.
Also it shames and marginalises people with disabilities and chronic illness and a whole shit ton more problematic stuff too. Fuck the concept of “healthy living”.
I did go to school for Marine Biology, but the cool thing is… the greatest thing for me is that Polynesians, our gods, Kahoali, Maui, all these water gods, so it’s really cool and a honor to be playing a [water] character. And there’s not too many brown superheroes, so I’m really looking forward to representing the Polynesians, the natives.
My family are some of the greatest water men on earth. I’m not, but I’m going to go train with them. But it’s really an honor just being a Polynesian. And water is the most important thing in this world and we all know it. It’s cool be a part of DC’s universe.
hey yall, im asking for help again. the place im living currently is severely behind on utilities. there is one working person and three disabled people who are unable to work, and the person who does have an income does not have a stable income either. basically he works selling abandoned junk, and its hard money. recently, his work vehicle broke down which means no income. we were informed this weekend that if we didnt pay the electricity and water, they will be turned off today. we have the initial payment covered, but we need about 700 dollars by friday to keep our resources going. we’re working to get whatever we can together, but it wont be enough. im truly sorry to ask this in a time when so many people seem to be struggling, but if you are able to donate anything, please donate here. please add a note that says “for utilities”. prayers, signal boosts, and well wishes are also deeply appreciated. thank you so much. much love.
According to recent reports, your white friend on Facebook, whom you’ve always secretly suspected of being a latent racist, explained today through a series of passive-aggressive posts why she does not support the protesters of Ferguson, Missouri.
Saying that “it isn’t that big of a deal” and “people get shot all the time”, your white friend explained to what she imagined was an eager audience on Facebook why the residents of Ferguson are blowing this whole thing out of proportion.
"They’re just looking for an excuse to riot. They just always need something to be angry about, and feel oppressed over." While it was left ambiguous who the ‘they’ in the Facebook status referred to, some expert analyzers concluded that your white friend was referring to black people. Your white friend insisted she was not racist at all, and that in fact this entire ordeal had nothing at all to do with race, and that "they" should stop trying to make everything about race.
She then posted a number of articles and videos of police officers doing nice things, with the passive-aggressive addendum: “See? Not all cops are bad! So maybe all of you should stop shit-talking them!” Unable to explain how these random good deeds did anything to address the events in Ferguson, your white friend responded to criticisms saying, “Well my uncle is a police officer, and he’s an amazing person. He risks his life every day. And if you don’t like that, then fuck you Jennifer, I’m unfriending you.”
Your white friend’s final Facebook status on the matter concluded, “I might get hate for this, but I for one support all the brave men and women who risk their lives every day for us. And I support all of the brave officers in Ferguson who are only trying to their jobs. The problem here is all those ghetto thugs acting like animals. And see? I didn’t say anything about race! And all of that is why I don’t support these ridiculous protests. If you have a problem with that, then bye.” The status finished with an extraordinarily condescending smiley face.
reminder that if we’re in a mutual and you’re under the age of 18 and find it creepy or weird that i’m following you back as an adult then let me know and i’ll unfollow and it won’t need to be a big deal at all… like, please put your own safety and wellbeing first
I’ve been sitting on this list for a bit (mostly because I… forgot I wrote it) but now, here it is! Note: These are all things I have seen in actual productions or done myself.
- Assume the characters love each other. The more they hate each other, the more fun this is!
- Move punctuation around to make new sentences. (There’s textual precedent for this! The Prologue to ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’- in Midsummer, yo- bases its humor on the actor speaking it having messed up his pauses. Also a lot of punctuation was added by editors later, so this one isn’t even a stretch.)
- Eliminate metatheatrical deception. Asides? Everyone on stage can hear them. Disguise? Everyone can see through it.
- Cut out famous soliloquies. I saw a production of Hamlet that cut ‘To be or not to be.’ It was EXCELLENT. Corollary 4a: Leave in the bits that always get cut.
- Kill somebody who the script leaves alive. In that same Hamlet, Horatio drank the rest of the poison and died after delivering his final speech.
- Introduce a physical plot point without changing the text. The Shakespeare Theatre in DC did a King Lear where Cordelia was played by a deaf actor, and the Fool was her interpreter. (I also saw a Much Ado in which the actor who played Beatrice was pregnant in real life. The production didn’t really acknowledge that, but it would have been so interesting if they had!)
- Make it a musical! Keep the text, put songs in it. Or just set the text to music. Or, if there are songs in it already, replace them with modern ones- not a Shakespeare example, but I’ve seen a couple versions of Knight of the Burning Pestle that did this.
- Fuck genres. Play tragedies for laughs. Make comedies disturbing.
- What if the characters know they’re characters in a play? What if just one of them does? Shakespeare uses enough theatrical language that you can really have fun with this.
I will probably add more to this list, or make a second one of things I haven’t seen (or done!) but would really like to. If you’ve seen or done anything else fun and unusual, reblog and add it! I’d love to know about it!
so much love for queer trans muslimahs (muslim women) who were raised in islamic communities that rejected them
so much love for queer trans muslimahs who are tokenized, fetishized and exploited by white islamophobic communities and pressured to leave their religion in order to “redeem” themselves
so much love for queer trans muslimahs who stay in those toxic communities because they have nowhere else to go for support
so much love for queer trans muslimahs who are told they have to choose between an islamic community that casts them as sinful and filthy and illegitimate muslims and a community driven by white savior complex and imperialism
so much love for queer trans muslimahs whose family tells them to stop being queer and trans for the sake of piety and whose white non-muslim friends tell them to not only leave their religion but also abolish it in order to have “correct” queer trans muslimah narratives
yall deserve love and support that isn’t come with white supremacy, islamophobia or communal intolerance <3
In which our protagonists observe the more… morally flexible aspects of theater and I make many, many references to musicals about exploited women and fascism.
Footnotes for this chapter are available immediately so you can hum along.
Aww, thank you!
I have just noticed that my summary, while accurate, totally manages to sound like it’s about theater when theater is more of a set dressing for the thing it is really about.
Which might be kinkmemes.
Okay, it’s totally kinkmemes.